Jon Russell (@jonrussell)”> The rise of ICOs surprised many in the tech industry, helping blockchain companies raise close to $4 billion in 2017, and that’s all set to continue with a twist in 2018. Beyond continued momentum for ICOs, also known as token sales, leading ICO companies themselves are set to start investing.

TechCrunch understands that at least half a dozen companies who raised money via ICOs and each have $500 million or more in total coin market cap — i.e. the total value of all of their crypto coins — have plans to invest in other blockchain projects via seed- or early-stage style deals.

According to sources, the first ICO-powered funds will come online in the first quarter of this year. The trend looks likely to spread beyond the early movers and capture the attention of others for a number of reasons.

Many of the highest capitalized ICO companies are building ambitious platforms which, by the nature of being a platform, require other companies to build on, or with, their product. As is the case with VC-backed companies, investing in up-and-coming startups that complement your platform is one strategy to create an ecosystem.

It’s a move that has been used by major tech companies including Slack, which has its own fund. That investment vehicle is used to create relationships with startups which can add new features, integrations and other aspects to the Slack service. Read more from…

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